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College Computer Faculty to Enlighten Local Middle School Students

Five Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty members will conduct a series of computer-safety presentations in March and April at Williamsport’s Curtin Middle School.

“Today, more than ever before, the Internet and various computer applications allow for data to be broadcast instantly throughout the world,” said Bradley M. Webb, coordinator of matriculation and retention for the college’s School of Business and Computer Technologies. “The ease and quickness with which our personal information can be dispersed and never permanently removed is a bit scary at times.”

At the request of Marcia McCann, instructional learning support teacher at Curtin, Webb organized the five-session program titled “Encryptions, Passwords and Confidentiality: Staying Safe in the Digital Age.” With the popularity of cellphones, e-mail and Facebook/MySpace accounts among an increasingly younger segment of the population along with such school concerns as “cyberbullying” computer safety is a hot subject.

The faculty members and a tentative list of their topics are Lisa R. Bock, “Biometrics” (March 10); Sandra Gorka, “Ethical Hacking” (March 11); Daniel W. Yoas, “Personally Identifiable Information” (March 17); Jacob R. Miller, “Early Cryptography” (March 23); and Anita R. Girton, “Personal Risk Assessment” (April 15).

Gorka and Miller are associate professors of computer science; Bock, Girton and Yoas are assistant professors of computer information technology.

“Colleges and universities were developed for, and continue to be, avenues in which knowledge can be generated and shared with the rest of society,” Webb added. “As a member of the Williamsport community, and a campus committed to applied technology, it made sense for the School of Business and Computer Technologies to share the knowledge of our faculty regarding safe computing, information dissemination and tips for staying secure in cyberspace with the students of the Curtin Middle School.”

Many of the topics to be addressed by faculty comprise the college’s four-year information technology: IT security specialist concentration, which meets or exceeds course work standards disseminated by the National Security Agency. A new version of the major information assurance and security incorporates two additional NSA standards and will be offered beginning with the Fall 2010 semester. This new program prepares students to specialize in the areas of information risk management, information systems security administration and information systems security auditing.

Curtin’s Brown Bag Gifted/Enrichment Program, voluntary mini-courses held over lunch period, allows students to be introduced to real-life applications that take them beyond the textbook. The goal, McCann said, is to fuel their creativity and open their minds to the 21st century while relying on community resources.

Paul A. Zenga, a diesel equipment technology/heavy construction equipment faculty member in Penn College’s School of Natural Resources Management, taught basic hydraulic lessons to Brown Bag students last fall. This year’s enrichment program also features Lycoming College faculty, local business owners, authors, historians and artists. In addition, a Curtin chess club has popularly revived one of the oldest games in civilization and some of McCann’s pupils are participating in a Stock Market Challenge.

For more information about information technology or other majors in the School of Business and Computer Technologies, visit online or call 570-327-4517.

For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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